Modern Music: A Journey from the Past to the Present
Research compiled by OPS students: Devron R., Lisset J., & Isice J.
Gospel music and the black church have been powerful parts of the African American community. Gospel music evolved out of traditional spirituals and hymns during the Great Migration. It has served as a powerful source of comfort, strength, and inspiration within the black church, reinterpreting prophetic religious stories in a new context. While North Omaha is home to dozens of African American churches, Salem Baptist Church, located at 31st and Lake Streets, is the largest black church in the state. A key part of Salem’s popularity is due to their dynamic music programs. The church also has been a local gospel innovator, incorporating choreography and featuring several instruments like drums and the electric guitar. Salem Baptist Church’s Inspirational Choir, founded in 1951 by Rev. J.C. Wade, achieved national recognition in 1978 when they collaborated with James Cleveland and received a Grammy Award nomination for the song “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired: James Cleveland presents the Salem Inspirational Choir.” Although they lost, the album went gold selling over 500,000 copies. Their achievements help to validate the quality of music found here in Omaha
Hip-Hop is a genre of music started by African American youth in the New York area that intermingled jazz, reggae, soul, gospel, and R&B. It has been accredited with giving a voice to the disenfranchised and young people in Omaha jumped at the chance to tell their stories in a new way by exploring Hip-Hop culture. During the 1980s people like D.J. Mario Scratch and D.J. Suicide help popularize Hip-Hop culture, which includes rap, break dancing, and graffiti art. There were numerous venues that hosted talent shows where local, regional, and even national artists showcased their talents in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, over time the availability of such venues dwindled and many performers now connect with their fans through the Internet and social media. Currently the most popular venues for listening to live Hip-Hop music are the Sokol Auditorium off 13th and Martha, and the Waiting Room Lounge on 62nd and Maple. Also local Hip-Hop historian Houston Alexander promotes local hip hop artists by playing their music on his radio program “Power Mix Sunday Night” airing on 106.9 FM.
Preston Love Memorial, located on 24th and Lake street.